Thanks to Mara, of the excellent Group Rhoda, we recently received a veritable horde of records from the West Coast label, Katabaik. By this point we’re pretty deep into the Punk DIY ethos does dance music era — which given all the other (terrifying) eras we seem to be living through right now, we have to say we’re pretty psyched about. Katabatik are very much part of that.
The artwork’s also pretty fucking far from the minimalism associated with dance records. It’s far nearer to the to early 80s tape trading scene, early 90s Industrial CD covers and early 00’s acid coloured internet art. I mean, up there you’ve got some totemic Moebius stuff going on and below you’ve got collage via surveillance culture. Its visual stimulation is generous.
So the records then…
Beyond brings the Techno. The thumping, eerie unmoored place. The bass that hints at enormous indifferent shapes beneath your feet, gliding by in their own unfathomable dance. The distorted melodies that swirl about an unintelligible vocal that doesn’t so much as add to the dread as it does fulfil a role in the scene unfolding before you. Like a compare to a dance you’ve stumbled upon, it invites you in and soothes your anxiety while indoctrinating you to the unquestionable futurism of techno.
Pierrot begins with a sample, so distorted it could have been taken from a wax cylinder. But rather than use this as a scene setting flourish it’s allowed to loop and build until you can start to see the grain before your eyes. And as soon as that begins to happen it all falls away into something smooth and sleek. And lo, we are told that ‘this is the final curtain call’ by a voice impassive and reassuring, like a private press of New Age induction lectures. That harshness, then calmness, eventually segues into a jittery hall of dance, the Techno throbbing throughout.